Miami's megaclubs are definitely something we'd recommend everyone experience at least once -- if they can afford it. Often referred to as "Vegas style," South Beach was actually providing this kind of entertainment long before Sin City jumped on the EDM bandwagon.
But unlike Las Vegas, Miami also boasts lots of underground dance spots, with clubs on either side of the causeway pushing the limits of electronic dance music. They proudly use genre tags like techno, house, glitch, Italo disco, nu-disco, and others, refusing to adhere to catch-all terminology. These are the nightlife venues where clubbers who have grown tired of chart-approved formulas can find something a little deeper.
Here is a guide to Miami's five best underground dance clubs.
See also: The 10 People Who Won't Make It in Miami
Named one of the best dance clubs in America by Rolling Stone and ranked among DJ Mag's Top 100 Clubs in the world, Electric Pickle has been a beacon for Miami's house and techno scenes since 2009. It's the longest-operating club in Wynwood, and for good reason: A custom Dynacord sound system gives the small space a big wallop that's sometimes hard to find at much bigger clubs. Highlights during WMC and Miami Music Week 2015 include DJ Three's Hallucienda party, which returns to Miami on Thursday, March 26, after a five-year hiatus, and veterans Frank & Tony's exclusive appearance during the week on Wednesday, March 25.
When gay mecca Score was pushed out of Lincoln Road, some people felt it just wouldn't be the same. But Score is still racking up points, and its move into Liquid's former location at 1439 Washington Ave. meant the club had space to launch a sister venue too. In October 2013, Trade opened on the second floor, directly above Score. And while it is decidedly gay-friendly (in the way that all big-city dance music venues are), it's a come-as-you-are spot that also books an impressive array of acts thanks to party promoters Link Miami Rebels. During WMC and MMW 2015, don't miss Düsseldorf-based label Desolat's showcase on Sunday, March 29, with Guti, Martin Buttrich, and Francisco Allendes; or Trade's two-room throwdown with Nicole Moudaber, Maya Jane Coles, Philipp Jung of M.A.N.D.Y., and Bob Moses on Saturday, March 28.
See also: Five Signs This Club Sucks
Ranked for the first time among DJ Mag's Top 100 Clubs in 2014, Treehouse had big shoes to fill when it opened in 2011. Househeads used to flock to this spot when it was known as Groove Jet during the 1990s heyday of South Beach nightlife. Nevertheless, on that sacred ground, Treehouse has thrived by eschewing the hip-hop and commercial dance music that's found almost everywhere else on the beach in favor of newer, progressive sounds. The venue will get its WMC and MMW 2015 party started on Monday, March 23, with showcases by the Be as One imprint and Ellen Allien's BPitch Control. Then Saturday, March 28, John Digweed will bring back his Bedrock Miami party, which for years was held at the now-defunct Vagabond nightclub, which he co-owned.
This Wynwood hot spot's booking may not always be dance-music-focused, but the Bardot crew makes up for it by setting an exceedingly high standard of quality. The venue's most significant handicap, its small size, can also be its best feature at times. Because where else in Miami can you feel like an act is playing just for you and some of your friends in the middle of someone's living room? For WMC and MMW 2015, French label Kitsuné will match Bardot's hipness on Wednesday, March 25, with a showcase featuring Ben Pearce, Thomas Jack, and Jessie Andrews. Then Saturday, March 28, the club will host Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs' Nice Age label party starring Anna Lunoe, Nina Las Vegas, and Empress Of.
Located in the former Boom Boom Room and Bella Rose space, Do Not Sit on the Furniture has taken the tiny club, sparsely decorated it, and forced patrons to adhere to its namesake motto. And who has time for sitting, anyway, when there's so much dancing to be done? Opened in 2013 by San Francisco's DJ Behrouz and Will Renuart of Electric Pickle fame, Don't Sit has proven that South Beach's club scene is capable of sustaining a venue where bottle service and EDM are nonexistent. From the Pickle-like disco ball to the powerful sound system and the made-for-selfies wall of gold cassette tapes, there's so much to love about this dance spot. Clear some WMC and MMW 2015 boogie time for Friday, March 27, when Don't Sit promises an intimate night with Nic Fanciulli, as well as Sunday, March 29, when Leftroom Records celebrates its tenth anniversary with Matt Tolfrey, Route 94, and Laura Jones.
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